Behavior Issues Increase

Break brings behavior policy changes

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Before midwinter break, faculty and staff at University Prep noticed that fights and bullying were happening frequently.

“Suddenly, two weeks before midwinter break, I was getting three or four incidents every day,” Director of Middle School Susie Wu said.

This was happening before and after midwinter break, so Wu took measures. If someone misbehaved, they could not go to the dance. 

History teacher Lindy Hayden worries about the effect of recent student behavior changes.

“Hearing what my students talk about before and after class made me think that we had folks who were not considering other people’s feelings and the impact of the things they were saying,” Hayden said.

Hayden talked to her students.

“Before you start gossiping, spreading a rumor, or saying something to get a laugh, pause, and consider the impact before you make the choice,” Hayden said.

Hayden thinks being online for so long is the overall cause of the behavior.

“Having two years where our interactions with people have a phone or a computer in between may have had a negative impact on how we gauge hurt that we might cause,” Hayden said.

Social and Emotional Learning Coordinator Emily Schorr Lesnick thinks the problem is being online and not learning specific skills in person. 

“Some of the social pieces, like how to be in community are things that we haven’t taught in the same way before because we didn’t think we had to. Now, we need to,” Lesnick said.

Lesnick thinks that it’s very important to learn the building blocks of how to treat each other.

“It is as important that you’ve learned how to write a three paragraph essay, as it is that you understand what compassion looks like in your community,” Lesnick said.

Another social piece to learn is speaking up about boundaries so that they are not accidentally crossed.

“I think people are insensitive with their friends and passing lines with them. Their friends don’t say to them, ‘Hey, I’m not okay with that,’” Lesnick said.